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Barb Graff, Director



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Home Preparations

Home Retrofit

Protecting your home from earthquakes

Homeowners can take steps to “mitigate” or reduce the earthquake hazard to your home. Home retrofitting is the mitigation process of bolting a wood-frame home to its foundation and providing sheer/pony wall strength. The goal is to increase a home’s structural integrity, but does not mean it is “earthquake proof” (as there is no such thing). Your home can still sustain

damage during an earthquake.

Past earthquakes have shown that homes not bolted to their foundation, or without proper sheer wall reinforcement can sustain significant damage and make your home unlivable.


Through a home retrofit class, learn about:

• Home evaluation

• Permit process

• Proper bolt and plate installation

• Safety and engineering solutions

The cost of retrofitting depends on what needs to be done and if you can do some of it yourself. Materials can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, or if you prefer, trained contractors are available. Upon completing this class you can do the retrofit yourself or be a knowledgeable client when hiring a professional contractor.  For more information on Home Retrofit see information below.


For Homeowners:

Project Impact logo

In this two-hour class, you'll learn how to evaluate your home to determine if it qualifies for the standard earthquake retrofitting plan. You'll also find out:

  • How to retrofit your home using Project Impact's Regional Home Retrofit guidelines
  • Tool usage and proper installation of parts
  • How to brace pony walls
  • How to secure the first floor framing
  • Which engineering solutions can be applied to your home, and when
  • The expedited permit process regionally and building code requirements - why are they important?
  • Safety issues
  • Consumer information - How to work with one of the trained contractors

By using a "model" wall and tools, we will demonstrate correct usage of retrofitting methods and materials. Each participant will also receive a packet of literature and detailed drawings. This class is designed for all homeowners, whether you're planning to do the work yourself or hire a qualified contractor.

Cost: FREE

A number of classes are being offered in Seattle, with additional classes being added around the Puget Sound region. For information on dates, locations and registration call 206-233-5076, or click here.

Remember: if you are going to hire a one of the trained contractors to retrofit your home, we still recommend that you attend a class to understand the process and to be a better informed consumer.

Phinney Neighborhood Association logo

Classes were developed in partnership with the Phinney Neighborhood Association


Home Retrofit:

Home Retrofit Classes

Hiring Contractors for Home Retrofitting

Resources and Permits

Reduce Earthquake Hazards
There are many actions that you and your family can take at home to reduce injuries and protect your property before an earthquake happens. Conduct a home hazard hunt and look for potential hazards that could hurt or endanger your family.

The Rule of Thumb
If it would break or fall and hurt someone then bolt, anchor or strap it down!

If it would break or fall and block an exit then bolt, anchor, strap it down OR move to another area of the room!

During an emergency, go to for the latest information.

Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police:
Non-Emergency Fire:

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